Photographic exhibit opens at Plymouth County Museum

Posted July 12, 2017 at 8:14 pm

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Dick and Glada (Reichert) Koerselman, two long-time Le Mars Daily Sentinel journalists, left the Plymouth County Historical Museum a treasure trove of history through their hundreds of newspaper photos and stories.

Their story debuted in a special exhibit, “Through the Years in Black-and-White,” opening in the Museum’s 1905 Study Hall on the first day of “Ice Cream Days” June 14.

The exhibit will remain open each day from 1 to 5 p.m. except on Saturday when it will open by 11 a.m.

At the Sentinel, Dick was a photographer; Glada was the editor. They worked as a team at the Sentinel in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. Glada left the Sentinel in 1986. Dick left in early 1987, and he died in March of 1987.

“Through the Years in Black-and-White” marks the 30th anniversary of Dick’s death. The photos cover dozens of topics: people, buildings, parades, fishing, hunting, cats, dogs, accidents, and the list goes on.

Also included are historic displays on the Plymouth County Fair since Dick and Glada were very involved in this annual event.

A Union Hotel exhibit honors the memory of Glada’s father, George Reichert, who operated the hotel. He died when Glada was just four years of age.

Even the Blessing of Animals is included since Glada started the blessing at St. George’s Episcopal Church in Le Mars in the early 1990s.

“These two journalists left a priceless gift to the Museum and the community of Plymouth County through their photos and stories,” said Museum Adminstrator Judy Bowman. “Of course, without Glada’s effort to save the Museum building itself in 1995, we would not even have a Study Hall in which to house displays. Glada saved ‘Old Central’ with a dollar and a dream, and we will be forever grateful at the Museum.”

Margaret Henrich, Museum volunteer, has spearheaded the massive exhibit, which consists of over 45 panels of history, along with many showcases in the Study Hall.

Lorrie Luense and other Museum volunteers have been sorting the Koerselman collection since last September.

Diane Anstine, who worked with the Koerselmans at the Sentinel for approximately 25 years, was among the volunteers who helped put together the extensive display. She remembers always filling in for Glada when she went on vacation.

After several days of working on the exhibit, Anstine said, “It’s kind of like a walk back in time… It’s sad … but you look at this and see all that they did and how talented they both were.”

She said the two were a real team. “Glada put him first, but he put her first.”

The Koerselmans were married in 1969, the same year as the Le Mars Centennial and the same year that the Sentinel took “Newspaper of the Year” honors. A portion of the exhibit will feature the Sentinel edition which Anstine helped the Koerselmans produce.

Another former employee who helped with the Museum exhibit is Karen Oetken, an early typesetter at the Sentinel.

“Glada would hand me news articles. I would type,” Oetken said.

“It was a trip down memory lane to see these pictures. You never ever forgot Dick and Glada,” and they never forgot her, she added.

At the time of Glada’s death three years ago, she was publishing The Messenger, the courthouse newsletter, which always included her personal column. She also served many years as a correspondent for the Sioux City Journal.

Bowman, who regarded Glada as her mentor for 19 years, said this exhibit has been on her bucket list since Glada’s death from cancer Sept. 22, 2014. Glada left the Messenger to Bowman, who continues to write a personal column.

The Koerselman exhibit will remain up through September. A program is scheduled for Sunday afternoon, Sept. 24.

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